With One Impression, Donald Trump Might Have Just Alienated Yet Another Minority Group
Donald Trump just trumped himself, pun intended, with one his most offensive comments yet. While making fun of former Florida Gov. and fellow 2016 presidential candidate Jeb Bush, Trump put on an impersonation of Asian people, complete with an accent and broken English. Shockingly, the crowd cheered him on.
Bush came under fire recently for using the term "anchor babies," which is offensive to many immigrants. Bush said that he was criticizing instances of fraud, in which mothers from other countries supposedly travel to the U.S. for short periods to deliver a child, who can then be granted U.S. citizenship. Trying to clean up the mess he created, Bush suddenly said that the "anchor baby" phenomenon was "frankly, more related to Asian people," and created an even bigger mess.
Trump, who is all about rubbing people's noses in their remarks, took to Twitter to make fun of Bush. Then, during a speech in Dubuque, Iowa, Trump said that Bush is a low-energy person who might not have force of will or the assertiveness to negotiate with Japan or China. He referenced his past experiences negotiating with Asian business partners, saying: "... when these people walk into the room, they don't say, 'Oh, hello, how's the weather, so beautiful outside, isn't it lovely? How are the Yankees doing? Oh they are doing wonderful. Great." Instead, Trump claimed, business negotiators from Japan and China say, "'We want deal! He jump out of the sea!'" Trump said this in broken English and with a put-upon accent.
Representative Mike Honda, a Democrat from California and Chair Emeritus of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, told NBC News that Trump's "offensive" parody "builds upon a disturbing narrative that is fueled by xenophobic speech and thinking."
In addition to the racism and the xenophobia, Trump might be alienating a huge chunk of the American electorate. A 2014 study study found that Asian Americans are the least likely to be contacted by political parties, even though Asian youth voter turnout is significant. The study also found that Asian Americans are the fastest-growing group of voters in the country.
Asian American advocacy groups are certainly taking note of the comments. Carl Hum of Asian Americans Advancing Justice told the Daily News that Trump and Bush's remarks are “demeaning” to immigrants:
Over the past two weeks, we’ve seen Asian Americans portrayed as the perpetual foreigner – dismissing our strong American roots, ignoring our contributions and treating us as expendable. I fear this won’t be the last time this election cycle that Asians are mocked and used as easy targets.
Advocacy groups said that Trump could alienate Asian Americans from the entire Republican party in the 2016 election, since his voice has become one of its loudest and most persistent.